Coaching, mentoring, advising and instructing are all separate tools that can help us develop our people.


This article maintains that an issue in the development of people is to understand the right modality (a method or process)and apply the right development tools. The development modalities—which are mistakenly often considered to be the same thing—are as follows:

  • Coaching. Helps unlock people's potential and maximise performance; key skills are active listening and questioning.
  • Mentoring. Provides a guide based on their experience; key skills are active listening and advising or suggesting.
  • Advising or Instructing. Imparting of knowledge, skills or attitudes; the key skill is effective communication.

Leaders in Defence need these tools to help our people operate at maximum capability and prepare our people for promotion. The challenge is to customise the most appropriate development tool to suit the team/individual and situation.